Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 27, 2010 - Week 37

So I titled this email, "A Talk to Remember" because I had to speak in sacrament meeting this Sunday and also because I know that "A Walk to Remember" is Dad's favorite show haha. Work in this area is really different from my past two areas. There aren't a whole lot of active members here and everybody knows everybody. Many people no longer come to church and we meet with a lot of inactive members. Usually, in my past two areas, working with the members when we teach investigators and less actives is so crucial. It still is here, but there just aren't a lot of people to choose from. Also many people have been offended by some other members and it just isn't good. Elder Buchanan and I have really tried to become friends with a lot of people in this area and we definitely have. People love having us come over and spend time with them. Many of the less actives do not want to come back to church right now, but enjoy spending time with the missionaries. We decided that we needed to do something to get these people to start coming to church. We decided that we have such good relationships with them that if we spoke in sacrament on Sunday, we could invite them to come and if they still didn't feel like it we told them that, "We could use their support." So this whole week I have used my personal study time to write a talk. We found out that we were the only two speakers. Since there aren't a lot of people who come to church, partaking of the sacrament doesn't take very long, so E. Buchanan and I both had to speak for 20 minutes. It was the longest talk I have ever had to give!! We put a lot of preparation into our talks and somehow I actually spoke for the full 20 minutes. It was on Avoiding Temptation. I used an example in Alma 47 how Captain Moroni was preparing his people for war both physically and spiritually and how his faith was to "resist iniquity." I talked about how no matter where we are in our lives right now, we can begin to follow Jesus Christ and get on the path of righteousness. It turned out really well and I had the same experience like I had when I gave my farewell talk. I wrote out my whole talk, but I practiced it a few times. When the time came for me to give the talk, I barely even looked at my papers. It was pretty cool. The spirit was really strong during the meeting. Elder Buchanan did a great job as well. What was even better was that we had an investigator there for the first time, Bobby Strickland. Bobby is a big guy who has had some bad experiences with church in his past. He really liked it and said that he wants to come back next week. We also had John Janovich there with his whole family and we had two other couples who haven't ever been to church come. I could tell that they felt the spirit during the meeting. We hope to follow up with them and move them towards the next step whatever it may be. I might make a copy of my talk and send it to you guys, but I warn you it’s a long one. We've had a ton of members compliment us and tell us we should send our talks into the Ensign haha.

Well Dad you asked about my bike. Right now I am not even using my bike. This area is so small and wide spread that it is pointless to use our bikes. We have our car so we can drive to another part of our area, but then the actual town is so small that we walk around to save miles. It’s also better for us to walk because then we can talk to more people. I have my bike for when I leave this area and go to my next one. We might ride it here if we feel like it. It will definitely be nice to have my own bike. My whole mission I have had to find a used bike and they have all been really bad ones that are about to break down at any moment. My bike is good and will be a lot easier for me to ride. What else....Oh Lynds all the pictures you sent me were awesome. And I like Mak's letter he sent me. I especially like the one of Mak in his bow tie and of Dan with his mustache. Your family picture is great too. The fat baby twins are so big now. I see baby's out here who seem so big, but they are actually younger than the twins. It’s weird for me to think about. That’s fun that your friends got to meet Elder Kilpack. Man I feel so bad for him. He is 1 1/2 hours away from home, crazy!! He said that he sees his grandparents all the time because they live in that mission. I bet he is doing great though. I reread that talk they gave in General Conference about how missionaries are assigned to their missions. Honestly when they gave that talk, I just got super depressed instead of feeling happy about my call. I decided to reread it and it brought so much understanding to me. It said that President Eyring would look at the picture of the soon-to-be missionary and greet them. He would then picture where the missionary would FINISH his mission and that would help him decide where to assign them. It truly is inspiration and ever since I saw my reassignment letter signed by the prophet himself I have felt so good about my service here in Kennewick Washington. It doesn't matter where I go as long as I am doing my best out here.

Well in other news we got a new zone leader. It is Elder Morse. I don't know if I have ever talked about him before, but he served in Kennewick with me. When I first came out he was just a young missionary and now he is a zone leader. Pretty cool huh? It will be fun to serve with him again. And guess what? Both Elder Cashin and Elder Smith are district leaders right now. I hope they both are doing good. I think Elder Smith is just about done with his mission. He only has a couple transfers left. How weird.

Well that’s pretty much it for me this week. I hope everyone is doing well. I love hearing from all of you. Have a great week.

Elder Garrick

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20, 2010 - Week 36

Elder Parlogeon, Elder Buchanan, Hank and Sarah Huxoll, and Me.

Hank Huxoll, Me, and Sarah Huxoll at their baptism.

Elder Parlogean (Buchanan's old comp and Cashin's current comp), Elder Buchanan, and Me with Hank Huxoll.

Me with some goats. The Bishop raises them and we got to go see them and play with them. They are like little puppies.

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is doing great and having a great week. To start off I'll just let everyone know that transfers came and both Elder Buchanan and I are staying together in Dayton. I am so happy about that. I love this area and I love working with Elder Buchanan. Some really amazing things are happening right now. Well the biggest thing to happen since I last emailed was the baptism of Hank and Sarah Huxoll. It was so great to see them make that step in their lives. They are so much happier now and they have that bright countenance about them. The light of Christ is really shining through their eyes. It’s weird because I have worked with a lot of people and whenever they get serious about the gospel and have that change of heart, you can see it in their outward appearance too. I have seen it with so many people. It truly shows that living the gospel does bring you happiness that most people do not have in their life. I have even worked with people who were happy with their life, but now are shining even brighter than before. On Sunday I was able to confirm both Hank and Sarah and give them the gift of the Holy Ghost. They both said that after they were confirmed they felt even better. They went over to a friend’s house and they were smoking and just talking bad about other people and both Hank and Sarah said that they wanted to leave, so they did. They are progressing so much right now.

Sarah's daughter, Celita, has a boyfriend. The guy is hilarious. He loves us for some reason. He calls us up because he just wants to hang out haha. He is usually over at the Huxoll's house whenever we have a lesson with them. He came to their baptism and he really felt the spirit. His eyes were all teary and later he said that it was a really great experience. That same night we talked to him about it a little more. He said that he is just so confused as to what church is best for him and which one he should go to. We taught him about the restoration right there. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he said that night, instead of going home and watching "prison break" he was going to read the Book of Mormon. We are going to start teaching him this week. We haven't even really taught him yet and he said that for some reason he has less of a desire to chew tobacco. We have only briefly talked about the word of wisdom too. I'm really excited for him.

There are great miracles happening right now. There are experiences that I feel I should not write in this email, but I want to say that the priesthood power is so real. Experiences and miracles that Jesus Christ himself and his apostles performed I have seen in the small little town of Dayton. There are many people who have exercised their faith and been healed by the power of god. These people are completely converted to the gospel now. The faith precedes the miracle, but the miracle confirms ones faith.

Well we have been trying to get into teaching John Janovich this week. We usually see him a lot throughout the week and for some reason or another we just couldn't get in with him. On Thursday we go over to his house because we have an appointment with them. We knock on the door and nobody is there. We notice that there is a piece of tape on the door with the writing of "5: 15-10" We were wondering what in the heck it was. It looked like a scripture so we look up John 5: 10-15. We were expecting he was playing some joke like we would look up the scripture and it would say, "And they knocked and nobody was there" or something like that. It didn't say anything and we realized that it said 5: 15-10 not 5: 10-15. We had no clue what it meant and they weren’t home so we just left. Then on Saturday we decide to just drop by their house. The piece of tape is still on the door. We were actually able to get in with them. We are walking through their house and there is another piece of tape with the same numbers on their closet door, above their TV, and also on their wall. The whole family has been wondering what the tape and numbers mean. John wouldn't tell anyone and he said he wanted to wait until the missionaries came over. So we asked him about it and he said, "The numbers aren't a scripture, they are a date." We have been asking him about setting a baptismal date forever now. Elder Buchanan asks, "Is it a baptismal date?" John replys by, "It sure is, May 15, 2010! That’s when I want to be baptized." It was awesome. We were so happy. We have actually taught him everything and he is willing to commit to live all the commandments so he might even bump his date up earlier. Possibly next week. This man has come so far. He started reading the Book of Mormon about 2 weeks ago and he is half way done with it now. This man is amazing.

Oh P.S. I talked to Elder Cashin and he is being transferred to an area where they cover 2 singles branches and he is going to be a district leader there. I can't believe it! I'm really proud of him. He has come a long way and this will definitely be a challenge for him especially since he is afraid of girls haha. He will do great though. Just a side note for everyone

It has been a while since I have sent a scripture to everyone. I was reading through Jesus the Christ and got to this part in the New Testament. Matthew 16: 24-25. I learned so much from these two scriptures. Christ tells us that if anyone wants to follow him, they must take up their cross. Don’t we all have our own crosses that we have to carry? This life is not going to be easy, but it was never easy for our Savior. The trial that He had to face never went away, but He humbly accepted the will of our Father in Heaven and received strength to carry out His task. So it is with us. Our trials may never go away, but we can receive that strength as we accept the will of the Lord. I have seen that in my life as I have served in the Kennewick Washington Mission. I can't explain how happy I am right now. In verse 25 Christ tells us that those who lose their life for His sake shall find their own. That is so true.

Have a great week everyone. I love you all and still cannot wait until the day when we can all return together.


Elder Garrick

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13, 2010 - Week 35

Hello everyone,

So I sent a letter home to the family about what has been going on around here, but I will update everyone else. This week has been a rough one for us. It was the week before everyone’s baptisms and things were just crazy. First we met with Warren, he is a 50 yr old guy with schizophrenia. This guy has been progressing so much. He said that he has never been happier in his whole life. He has been reading the Book of Mormon and the Gospel Principles book. He actually quoted something from the Gospel Principles book while we were teaching him. We decided to bump his baptism date for April 17th. We figured that he is progressing so much, and we committed him to live the word of wisdom, so he could really use the gift of the Holy Ghost as he tries to quit smoking and drinking coffee. He was all up for it and we set up his interview for baptism and everything. Then he gives us a call and says that he is going back to his anti-Mormon girlfriend and he just can't do this right now. It was a major upset for us. Then we talked to Larissa and she doesn't want to get baptized anymore too. She said that she is only 19 years old and she doesn't want to give up drinking and tea. She said that she doesn't want to get baptized and not be fully committed. That is exactly how it should be, but instead of not doing those things, she still wants to do them. She said that she probably will someday, but just not right now. Luckily we are still going to try and teach her so hopefully we can talk to her.

The Huxolls are the only ones that are doing great. Summer has dropped off date, but Sarah and Hank are still good to go. They were interviewed for baptism and all is well. Their baptism was changed to this Wednesday because the funeral for Sarah’s ex-boyfriend is going to be on Saturday. Elder Buchanan will be baptizing them and I will have the opportunity to confirm them and give them the Holy Ghost. I'm really happy for them. Sarah is going through such a hard time right now. She was very depressed for a few days, but after her interview for baptism she has been so happy. I will have to take some pictures and send them home. So our 5 baptisms we had on schedule have now gone down to 2. We still have some investigators that we are working with and we are hoping that all goes well with them. The roller-coaster life of missionary work. What is amazing is that even with all of this happening, Elder Buchanan and I are having a good time. I can't describe it, but one day I just woke up and I was the happiest I had ever been. I really thought about the things our Savior did for us. I thought how happy I will be to meet him one day, and just that thought brought so much hope and comfort to my soul. It sustained me during this week and helped me to keep moving forward. I should have been completely depressed this week, but I wasn't. I counted my blessings and felt so much better.

So right now I am on exchanges with one of the zone leaders, Elder Chavez. It’s been good. I think they are having a hard time in their area right now. Elder Chavez doesn't really like to talk about it haha. It’s okay. I know exactly how he feels. Even zone leaders have hard times on their missions. Last night we went to family home evening with the young single adult branch. It was pretty fun. We had cake for people who had birthdays in April and then we played big booty (first time ever playing that game, and I’m horrible at it) and then we played catch phrase. As usual I rocked at catch phrase, but we still lost. I can't believe it! It was a lot of fun though. Still don't really want to go to a singles ward when I get home though haha.

Let’s see, what else has gone on this week....... We will find out about transfers this Saturday. I'm hoping that both Elder Buchanan and I will stay together for at least one more transfer. We work really well together and are having a blast at the same time. So I don't know when I am going to do it, but I’m gonna send a tape home to you guys. It will be "A Day in Dayton." Its gonna be awesome! Well I really don't have much else to talk about. I love you all. Have a great week and enjoy life.

Elder Garrick

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pictures from a member in Walla Walla

A woman in Walla Walla befriended our family on facebook and posted a ton of pictures of Jared. We are so grateful to great families like hers!
Jared needed a bike so the members took he and his companion and a few other missionaries to the bike shop.

The Mullen's also took the missionaries to the temple. Jared is able to go to the temple quarterly in Kennewick which he is very grateful for.

They also took the missionaries to Red Robins. We are glad that even though Fatty is on a mission, he still gets his favorite Clucks n' Fries
The Mullens

Jared's companion is Elder Buchanan, apparently he found a street named after him!

Thanks for the pictures Ashley, you inspire us to be better to the missionaries in our wards!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6, 2010 - Week 34

Hola Everyone!

So as you can see from my title, this has been the craziest week of my entire life. I will just start from Saturday because that is when all the craziness started. We wake up and we are getting ready for the day. We are super excited because its General Conference and we have been waiting for this day for the past month now. I jump in the shower and I'm literally in there long enough to get all soaped up and E. Buchanan bangs on the door and says that there is an emergency at the Huxolls and we need to leave right now. I wash off and jump out as fast as I can. We are driving over and I'm getting dressed in the car. The Huxolls stepdad died last night. Hank is just crying and the first person he asks for is the missionaries so that's why we went running. We did our best to comfort them and we prayed with them. It was good because we were able to speak to Hank and Sarah about the plan of salvation again and where we go after we die. The Huxolls are doing much better now. We gave Sarah and Hank a blessing too. I gave Hank his blessing. It was literally the coolest blessing that I have ever been a part of. The things that Heavenly Father wanted him to know were amazing and it was the most in-tune to the spirit I have ever been. Every time I give a blessing my faith in the priesthood strengthens and I see those blessings come to pass. Well Hank is for sure on date for baptism on the 17th and Sarah is too. She said that she doesn't even have a desire to drink coffee anymore. She said that the other day she hadn't made a pot of coffee until 3 o'clock. She took a sip and it made her sick so she threw it out. Awesome huh. There are so many miracles happening here, it is amazing. I am so blessed to be a part of them right now.

So we missed a lot of General conference because of the Huxolls and a bunch of other crazy stuff, but we are going to watch it through out this week so hopefully I will be able to catch up. What I did see was great though. Dad that's too bad you missed the Priesthood Session. It was so good. I received so many answers to my prayers that session. President Monson also said that it was the best Priesthood Session that he has ever seen. You'll have to watch it sometime or wait for the Ensign to come out for it. Easter was great for us. Our members gave us a little Easter basket with candy in it. We just watched conference and then some investigators from Walla Walla that our members are working with came up and we watched a little bit of conference with them and had dinner with them. It is actually the grandma of someone that E. Buchanan baptized in Dayton. It sure didn't feel like Easter though. I'm used to painting eggs and waking up to see what the Easter bunny brought. Not this year.

Thank you so much for the package though. I love it all, the food, tape, pin, shorts and shirts. Its all great. I wrote you guys a letter and its actually pretty long so I hope you like my Easter present to you. I'm not done with it yet, but I will try to send it out soon. Oh and thanks for the extra tape, that is definitely a "wink, wink, nudge, nudge" haha. Don't worry I will send you guys a tape. I will make it a good one too. I get to call home soon anyway. I'm excited for that. I can't believe that it is time to call home again. I only have two more General Conferences now and two more phone calls after this one. How crazy is that? Time sure is flying by. This transfer is almost done. I have no idea what is going to happen but I sure hope that I don't leave and that E. Buchanan doesn't leave either. I think we are both pretty safe, but you never know. So did I tell you guys about the "Reflection of Christ" DVD's? I just bought both of them today at the church book store. They are amazing. I suggest that you guys buy them too or at least look them up on youtube.

Well I love you guys so much. Take care of yourselves and I will talk to ya next week.

Elder Garrick